KRI Zambia chief executive officer Dr Frank Kayula says newly elected National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Steven Nyirenda’s remarks that he will repossess land from white farmers once he comes into office are misplaced.
On Tuesday, Nyirenda said he would repossess the land and give it to Zambians for free.
“Any development that is there today started along the river banks but what have we done? We have moved away our people from the rivers banks, we have given these areas to the whites. [Us] when we come, we will take back that land and put our own people! If you look very carefully, these people that have chunks of land, they never bought them, the government gave them for agricultural purposes. They are now dividing the land. All these whites were given land for free and they are selling small portions at US$250, they are millionaires. You have made them millionaires on our land which is illegal to sell land that you are given for free for a specific purpose. We will look into that when we come that land belongs to the Zambians. If you want to buy land now, don’t buy wait for 2021 we will give land for free. This land that we have is not for a foreigners it is for us Zambians. We should not accept a person coming from Asia or Europe to come and govern us,” said Nyirenda.
But in an interview, Thursday, Dr Kayula, who is the former National Union for Small-Scale farmers of Zambia president, said Zambia had enough land and Nyirenda suggestion could only create acrimony.
“For Mr Nyirenda that is a wrong direction. Zambia has a lot of land, which is very good. What Mr Nyirenda should concentrate on when he comes in power, if ever, with those kind of words, I think he may bring what I may call acrimony instead of working together. Small scale farmers have access to this land, all we need to do is see how we can improve productivity among the small scale farmers. This has been the greatest challenge. If he starts of repossessing land, it will be a case of Zimbabwe. It has not helped them at all and we wouldn’t like to go in that direction. And if you say you will remove the commercial farmers to come and redistribute land, that can only be done in an area where land is scarce but we still have land. That story is not healthy and I pray that he tones down. He must learn to consult and read. It is not even allowed to plough along the river banks,” said Dr Kayula
“Maybe he is talking about a specific kind of land probably like where he has a motel along Zambezi River. But according to the environmental requirements, we are not supposed to settle very much close to such rivers because we tend to destroy the channel. My brother is seeking a presidential position so he should look at these things holistically so that it helps him to understand. If he looks at this thing from one angle, he will make a lot of blunders in future if he becomes the president. He may have good intentions but not knowing that these good intentions may result in repercussions that are negative.”